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J Neurosci. 2004 Jun 23;24(25):5741-7.

High-frequency stimulation induces ethanol-sensitive long-term potentiation at glutamatergic synapses in the dorsolateral bed nucleus of the stria terminalis.

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Neuroscience Graduate Program, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee 37232-0615, USA.


Anatomical and functional data support a critical role for the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) in the interaction between stress and alcohol/substance abuse. We report here that neurons of the dorsal anterolateral BNST respond to glutamatergic synaptic input in a synchronized way, such that an interpretable extracellular synaptic field potential can be readily measured. High-frequency stimulation of these glutamatergic inputs evoked NMDA receptor (NMDAR)-dependent long-term potentiation (LTP). We found that an early portion of this LTP is reduced by acute exposure to ethanol in a GABA(A) receptor-dependent manner. This effect of ethanol is accompanied by a significant and reversible dose-dependent attenuation of isolated NMDAR signaling and is mimicked by incomplete NMDAR blockade.

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